With less than two weeks remaining until the Redskins kickoff their 2013 regular season with a Week 1, Monday Night Football home game against the Eagles, here are nine questions to help preview what to look for this year:
1. Who is the easiest player on the roster to root for?
This is pretty much a no-brainer with RGIII. No matter how bad the situation is with a 3rd and long, there's always that feeling that RGIII will find a way to make it happen. When's the last time a Redskins QB has given me that feeling? I think I was still learning my A-B-Cs.
2. If you could buy a ticket to just one game this year...
The road game week two vs the Green Bay Packers. For anyone that even remotely likes football, watching a game at Lambeau FIeld is an automatic bucket list item. The fact the Redskins are playing, and they're good, makes it the game of the year to attend. Second place honors is probably the Redskins and Mike Shanahan returning to Denver. So many great story lines there.
3. Which veterans could be cut before the season due to salary cap issues?
Josh Wilson's name always comes up among fans. I don't think the Redskins have the depth at CB to cut him. Bruce Allen has held off restructuring any contracts to date, but he hinted that's what he'd do if needs to add cap space at this point. The Redskins have been very loyal to their veterans, so cutting any would surprise me.
4. Which second year player is going to make the biggest leap?
Well, it'll be hard for Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to "leap" much further than they went their rookie seasons. Keenan Robinson and Richard Crawford would have been good candidates here but they are both now lost for the season with injuries. So, by default, that leaves Kirk Cousins. It's realistic Cousins will play at least 2-3 games this year, so given his progress this summer, I think we will see a much more polished QB.
5. What are the odds of your head coach getting fired?
Negative 0%. If something happens to RGIII again, everyone seems to say Mike Shanahan will get fired. I vehemently disagree with this. When I put myself in Dan Snyder's shoes, I see how well this team and front office is being run, especially with the quality draft picks and the cap management. There is no way I would ever want to start over again with a new coach. Mike and/or Kyle Shanahan are here to stay no matter what.
6. What franchise or NFL records could be broken this season?
It will be interesting to see if RGIII can break Jay Schroeder's passing yards record of 4109. RGIII had 3200 passing yards last year, and he will surely be running less and now has YAC kings, Fred Davis, and a healthy, Pierre Garcon. RGIII has the accuracy and arm strength to get it done. The game should be much slower for him this year as well.
7. Which rookies will see regular playing time this year?
Pretty much all of the healthy, defensive rookies will be mixed in packages: David Amerson, Brandon Jenkins, and Bacarri Rambo. Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson have not shown enough consistency to see a lot of playing time, but we'll see how that goes over the next few weeks. Bacarri Rambo should be seeing a lot of time at Free Safety the second half of the season.
8. Predict the order of finish in your division.
Redskins (1st), Giants (2nd), Cowboys (3rd), Eagles (4th). I think the Eagles will have a disastrous season given that both the offense and defense schemes were completely over-hauled. The Redskins did just that in 2010 and we all know how that went (6-10).
9. What do you expect your season-end record will be?
<glugs Kool-Aid>. 11-5. The Redskins have a lot going for them in that they were able to return 23 of their 24 starters from last year (including the two kickers). Continuity is king when it comes to running a successful offense and defense, so all of the tools to return to the playoffs are there. RGIII is healthy and Kirk Cousins has proved a solid backup, so as long as Trent Williams and Barry Cofield stay healthy, the team goal of winning the Super Bowl carries water. Fred Davis and Brian Orakpo are welcome additions back into the lineup after being out the majority of 2012.